Being Honest

This week’s Wander is going to be about…  Nothing.

This isn’t because I haven’t been doing anything.  It’s the reverse.  I’ve been doing a great deal, but most of what I’ve been doing – while completely fascinating to me, and definitely connected to writing – has not taken a form that I care to discuss.



So, I’m going to be completely honest.  I could tell you I wrote ten pages in one day.  I could tell you that those ten pages were the end result of about ten days of nearly constant brainstorming, dead ends, obsession, false starts and the like.  I could tell you that in the end, what got me over the hump was turning off the computer, taking out a heap of scrap paper and a fountain pen of dubious functionality, and scribbling until all the varied bits and pieces began to fall into shape.

Would that be of interest?

I really don’t know.  But it would be honest.

I’ve noticed a trend of writers posting on-line how many words they wrote in a given day.  I’m not sure where this came from.  Maybe it’s an outgrowth of the NaNoWriMo mentality that presents production in and of itself as meritorious.

Well, if the end result of that production is something of quality, then I firmly agree.  However, if it’s merely moving fingers across the keyboard so one can see the little number counter at the corner go up and up and up…

Let’s just say I have my doubts.

Odd thing though.  Recently, I was talking with a relatively young writer who wondered if her goal should be to write a large amount of material (say, two hundred pages) or to limit herself to a still ambitious length (fifty pages), then focus on going over it.  My advice to her was to limit the length, focus on the editing and polishing, because one learns so much in the process of making the words communicate the story that’s in your brain.

But then, just a few days later, I was talking with a friend of mine – a published writer who has completed several novel-length manuscripts, as well as numerous short stories.  She’s good.  No doubt.  But any project takes her forever because she can’t let go of a sentence until it’s just right.  Her word count in a week usually measures in the hundreds, not thousands of words.  I’m always trying to get her to let go and just write, worry about the polishing later.

And me?  It’s about how the inside of my head feels.  How the Muse is feeling.  Right now she’s saying “Go write.  Don’t worry about what or where it’s going.  Just write.  There’s something there, waiting to find its way out.”

So, folks, that’s what I’m going to do.

I’ll also be preparing for Bubonicon, New Mexico’s SF convention.  I’m on four panels and giving a reading.  I’m also helping out with the Afternoon Tea.  And, for the first time, Jim and I are putting a couple of multi-media projects in the Art Show.

But I think it’s time for the scrap paper and semi-functional fountain pen.  The Muse is calling and I shall come…

4 Responses to “Being Honest”

  1. James M. Six Says:

    TL;DR – Do what works for you

    I follow several professional writers’ blogs and twitter feeds on which they discuss, to varying degrees, their writing process.

    One of them provides numbers and writes in a sort of cycling first draft that, aside from having his wife (also a writer) read and make suggestions, never goes back to edit the stories and just publishes them. However, he admits that early in his career, he used to polish things obsessively and sold rarely. I wonder, though, if that editing and polishing early in his career developed his skills to the point where his “first drafts” (it’s a little more complicted than that, but let’s call it that) are now professional quality right away. He also writes stories without knowing how they’re going to end, trusting that he’ll get there if he keeps writing (and cuts away the extraneous stuff if he took a wrong turn at some point).

    His wife, on the other hand, sometimes writes scenes completely out of order, then assembles them and writes the connecting scenes if they are missing. Not sure how much editing and polishing she does. She doesn’t provide numbers, except on very rare occasions.

    Another author touts the benefits of just getting the words on the page (on the screen) and THEN going back to edit them into a publishable story, rather than worrying about having the precise correct words as you create.

    One of the above writers did, however, say, that there is no one right way to create a story, and that each writer must use whichever process works for them, as long as the end result is completed stories that can be sold/published. If your process never lets you create a finished story, that’s your fear trying to stop you from becoming a published author.

  2. CBI Says:

    Looking forward to seeing y’all there. Some interesting panels overall, ranging from silly to serious, with a spice of irony thrown in. Should be fun.

  3. Paul Says:

    You can make even wandering aimlessly fascinating.

  4. henrietta abeyta Says:

    Hi how are you doing dear Jane? It’s you true fan Jasmine Olson again. Blind Seer in chapter 16 in the 6th book of Firekeeper’s whole series sure helped me see knowing who you are without any doubt is one of the ways to soothe yourself. He made it clear that knowing what you helps with decision making.

    Balancing your self-confidence can help you live up to your potential. To avoid danger and to avoid disappointment are two other wise reasons to be careful with how you talk.

    A real Omega wolf from a non-fiction book helped me discover how important it is to balance your patience so people don’t get confused and see intimidated instead. Don’t be too patient just be patient enough to look friendly.

    Spellfall is a fiction book I can’t wait to have at home.

    Song of the Summer King by Jess E. Owen also has the painted wolves not only the gray wolves. And I don’t know if anyone here has yet heard of the hyena’s short cousin the aardwolf. Aard means earth.

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